Oct 29, 2012


If you liked the whimsical "Fruity French Macarons" posted on facebook, then you will appreciate the artistic talents of a new friend of mine, Deborah.

If you love crafting, you must see her blog! It is: http://everydayisanoccasion.blogspot.com. Deborah has a natural talent for making each day special. Her most recent themed celebration was a birthday party for her 8-yr. old daughter.  Whether she is baking or crafting, her ideas and execution of each project are not beyond the reach of the average crafter. If you are not creative in coming up with ideas, Deb's blog is filled with them and you can alter some of the ideas and make them "yours". She gives you tips as well as information on where to purchase some of the items you see.

I'm posting a few pictures here, but please visit her blog.....you will be happy you did!  Please see her "profiteroles" below.....lovingly made and beautifully displayed:) What 8 yr. old girl would not just "love" these?

Thanks, Deb, for the great photos, wonderful blog to inspire us and for your friendship!


Oct 25, 2012


I love all things "tiny" and "detailed". It's a natural for me, but I suspect most people don't like detailed things...too hard to see and maybe frustrating.  But I enjoy the challenge and intricacy of small designs, especially those involving royal icing, namely flowers.

The prep for royal icing flowers is easy. I use meringue powder as my base. The piping is a skill, but like with everything, persistence is key.

The "tiny" things I love involve small decorations - especially for the French Macarons. I know....they are sooo cute anyway, why spoil them? But I can't help myself.....I love the tiny toppings such as crystal sugars, dried edible flowers (here, hibiscus) and lavender buds.   And wait for a following post to come.....French Macarons with a very "young girl" in mind....can you guess the topping I used? Come back and visit my blog for a picture of what I baked and designed.

A bientot!

Oct 22, 2012


Our next port of call was Livorno, Italy.  We surely did not want to miss Pisa this time around...namely the famous "Leaning Tower". Some had said not to bother, but I am glad we "did bother" to go. It was truly amazing to see not only how it leans, but it's full construction of marble.  And the tower is not alone in this area (as I had believed). There is a huge baptistry here as well.  The entire historic piazza is called the "Field of Miracles" as some of you make already know.

On our way through Pisa, we took a lovely boat right on the Arno River.....a very peaceful river. (see below)

Of course, before we boarded a trolley which drove us to the piazza containing the "Leaning Tower", we had just enough time to get our hands around a most delicious cappuccino......perfection in a cup!

Oct 17, 2012


We visited Marseille just following our tour of Sanary-Sur-Mer. As you can see from the photos that it is a very large and close-knit city!  It was a gorgeous day with a slight cool breeze....true perfection.  The city has been a port for over 2600 years, named the "gateway to the East". We are touring a cathedral here, but had a picturesque tour of the villas, mansions and beautiful sights of this lovely city. We would surely need to return to see it all!

Oct 16, 2012


After dancing the night away on the ship.....it was time to begin sampling the confections in France. I posted on Sanary-Sur-Mer recently, but focused on the scenery and the amazing cappuccinos! This is the first confectionery shop we had time to stop into, after a lovely walking tour. I wanted to buy the whole case! No French Macarons here (Paris and St. Tropez for sure), but they had the famed "Calissons", a delicious Provencal combination of almond paste and fruit paste - mainly glaceed citrus peel and sometimes melon. They are lightly iced on top with a sweet royal icing and are traditionally in diamond shapes. Here is what they look like:


We waited until we were in Cassis, France to actually purchase them, but they are the same everywhere in France. You must like almonds to enjoy these! They are very much like our marzipan here in the USA but the Provencal presentation is just divine!

A bientot!

Quote: "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

Oct 15, 2012


I have many photos to share now that we are back from our European trip. The weather was perfect, summer-like each day - not one drop of rain!

Gibraltar, UK was our first port of call. We have been here before and this time decided to "not" take a shore excursion, but rather wander around town, investigating new sites, taking in the shops, sights and "smells" of possible new pastry ideas.

We did manage to find a nice outdoor cafe, offering a fairly nice cappuccino with a caramel flan for a dessert. Although it was not a typical "round" and soft caramel  flan (USA version), we didn't have trouble gobbling it down:)

Just prior to visiting the cafe, we did come across a confections shop offering some chocolates and pastries - a fairly impressive dessert case for where we were (this is not Paris folks!). We made it our goal to take photos of "all" the pastry shops we came across - to later compare. This is the first of many....

By the way, did you know that Gibraltar, although a part of the UK, has its own currency? They do, however, accept the British "pound" and "pence".  We found this out at Heathrow Airport (London) when we tried to use it to pay for "one last pastry and cappuccino" before boarding our flight home. Needless to say, it was not accepted. So, we once again have brought home "change"......I guess a "sign" of our need to return to Europe in the future...

Please check back soon, as I will be more diligent about my "postings".

A bientot!

Oct 9, 2012


Do I have my favorites when it comes to countries? Yes.....France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, my new favorite (more to come on this amazing country).  I had to post this photo first......our first "real" cappuccino...in Sanary-Sur-Mer, France....just beautiful! All of the coffees in Europe are nicely brewed, but this was my favorite so far.....mounds of whipped cream:)  The downside.....only 45 minutes leisure time on this shore excursion to enjoy the shops and coffee.....but it was worth it!

This seaside town is brimming with boats and quaint buildings shops and cafes, resembling those in Villefranche, France along the the French Riviera.

This was the beginning of our venture to find new pastries and delicacies in Europe. We found one-of-a-kind shops, brimming with authentic (seen only in magazines at home) pastries, confections, glace fruits....I was in sheer 'baking heaven'...to say the least!

Check back frequently for more photos of our trip, as well as ideas for new European cookie offerings!

A bientot!